My hope is to clarify the forgotten constitutional legacies of a number of American Presidents. This is only a small sliver of constitutional law, but not an insignificant one at that. My aim is to examine how the Presidents we commonly dismiss as constitutionally insignificant actually helped to shape the future of constitutional law. How these Presidents (and their administrations) exercised power, even for as short a time as William Henry Harrison, changed the constitutional landscape. I do not intend to make the case for rating these Presidents higher than historians or others usually do or for overstating what they accomplished in office. Rather, my objective is to clarify their constitutional impact, which has been overshadowed or obscured by the brighter lights cast by some other Presidents Yet, no one-not even Millard Fillmore-has occupied the office of the Presidency without leaving some imprint on both the office and our Constitution.


The Eighty-Second Cleveland-Marshall Fund Visiting Scholar Lecture